PRESS RELEASE: Sanders Institute Stops Accepting Donations and Suspends Operations During 2020 Presidential Election

Burlington, Vermont (March 14, 2019) - The Sanders Institute is no longer soliciting or accepting donations and is winding down operations in light of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. According to David Driscoll, the Institute’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, the organization has taken these actions to avoid confusion or even the misperception of any overlap between the organization and the campaign.

“We are proud of the work that the Sanders Institute has done to promote progressive solutions to the economic, environmental, racial and social justice challenges that America faces,” said Driscoll. “That policy work has always been completely separate from electoral politics. We are taking this step in keeping with that core principle of good governance.”  

The Board of Directors of the Sanders Institute passed a resolution on February 28thsupporting the Executive Director’s recommendationto suspend operations, to cease donations and to fulfill all existing financial, legal and programmatic obligations over a period of transition. Driscoll said he decided to recommend the pause in operations to the Board because “continuing our active role in policy development may create the false impression that the Institute is part of the campaign.” 

Driscoll, Sanders’ son, and Dr. Jane O’Meara Sanders, Sanders’ wife, co-founded the independent organization in June 2017 based on the principles and values of the Bernie2016 presidential campaign. The preface to the mission – “A vital democracy requires an informed electorate, civil discourse, and bold ideas” – is a basic tenet of their work as an Institute, and as a family, rejecting the disparaging attacks so prevalent in today’s politics in favor of positive solutions and respectful communication.

The progressive think tank has an impressive roster of influential Fellows who have worked with the Institute to produce content on a broad spectrum of issues including climate change, health care, voting rights, criminal justice, housing and the economy. 

Over the coming months, the Sanders Institute will finish publishing the work created since its inception on the organization’s website and social media platforms.  “Particularly relevant,” said Driscoll, “will be content created from the Sanders Institute Gathering, a three-day conferenceof progressive thought leaders from across the country and around the world, who came together in Burlington, Vermont this winter to discuss some of the most pressing issues of our time and to offer innovative solutions.” 

While the Sanders Institute will suspend operations during the presidential campaign, it is expected that the Fellows will continue their policy work as individuals and will speak out on issues of importance to them. The content on the website will continue to be available as a resource to the public. 

Follow us at, and on YouTubeFacebookTwitter and Instagram

Press Contact

Media contact: Shana Alexandria Frahm